Student Placement Article

Published on 24 June 2024

Esther web pic.jpg

Esther Donker, 3rd year Bachelor of Youth Work Student

The following is a reflection of my 300-hour placement at Monash Youth Services (MYS). MYS provides many different services and programs to young people in the community and in my time I have supported most of them. The programs I had the opportunity of being involved in regularly were MYzone and Quiksound, I was able to attend a few Activate sessions and Monash Youth Committee meeting. Throughout my time here I have also attended many staff meetings and worked on my own smaller side projects.  

At both the MYzone and Quiksound programs, it was great to see how these programs are delivered for young people in the community. As I came into these programs as a new person, it was a valuable learning opportunity for me to focus on meeting and getting to know the young people who attended. I enjoyed the free time most at the middle years program MYzone, as that’s where I was able to make connections and build on that rapport with the young people through playing games and doing some colouring arts and craft activities. At Quiksound, which is an event management and arts and music program, I enjoyed getting to observe and help facilitate some of the small group activities within the program each week. At both programs I had the opportunity to facilitate some ice breakers with the young people and at a MYzone session, I had the opportunity to facilitate the main activity, which was making DIY Kaleidoscopes with the young people. These were valuable learning experiences as I was able to practice and build upon my skills as a youth worker in a safe environment.

I also had a conversation and individually caught up with each youth worker on the team at Monash Youth Services which has been an extremely valuable learning opportunity. Each youth worker has a range of different life experience in the field, some having only just recently graduated, and some having been in the field for over twenty years, and it’s been invaluable to learn about their roles and experiences and what areas they have previously worked in. As I got to look more closely at each person’s role, it was very insightful to see the variety of each youth workers job. It has made me reflect further in thinking that this is an area and environment of youth work I would love to work in.

A learning opportunity that was very insightful to see, was the behind the scenes of the continuation of a youth survey that was conducted with young people in the Monash community last year. This survey was conducted when I was on my previous placement at Brentwood Secondary College, where young people voluntarily responded to various questions about their health and wellbeing. Now at my current placement, I have attended a couple of meetings with the team who have been charged with compiling that data from the survey and sharing selected information with the wider community. It was an insightful learning opportunity as I was able to see what the local council does with that sort of information from a survey, and how that information will be used to help those in the wider community.

Aside from attending and observing the programs each week, I also got to work on my own little side projects. I had the opportunity to deliver an hour-long presentation to the team on some journal articles of my choosing, which were about supporting healthy online peer relationships for young people. Following the presentation I facilitated a discussion about how as youth workers, the team can further support young people in this space. It was a valuable learning opportunity as I gained insight into what it looked like to present to a team in an office environment, practiced my public speaking skills and built upon my skills of engagement. Based on my findings, I was asked to then create a news article to go on the Monash Youth Services website and an accompanying social media post. Again, it’s been a great learning opportunity because I have been able to learn about council processes; when you’re creating an article to be published on the website, or a social media post, each piece of work must be approved. I was able to gain insight into creating content for young people that is both engaging and educational, which is something that many youth workers encounter in their job.

Another task I was given was to research and present my findings comparing two local council youth services and two interstate council youth services. Through this task, I was able to learn how different local and interstate councils run their youth services, and the different services they provide to the young people within their communities. I then got to briefly present my key findings in a staff meeting to the team. This proved to be a valuable learning opportunity for me as it encouraged me to explore different services, something I probably wouldn’t have looked into myself otherwise.

Lastly, I was given the opportunity to create a few social media reels for the team, which involved highlighting some of the different spaces in the Monash Youth Services space and creating a reel about staying connected in winter. I really enjoyed the creativity in undertaking the development of these reels and valued the experience.   

Essentially, I feel very privileged to have been provided with many invaluable learning opportunities to enhance and build upon my skills as a youth worker here at Monash Youth Services, and am grateful to have worked with a team of such skilled professionals.

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